Tag Archives: tax avoidance

Eric Schmidt’s perplexity – a challenge to governments

Google’s Eric Schmidt has been reported as being perplexed by the UK’s debate on tax avoidance.

I view that you should pay the taxes that are legally required. It’s not a debate. You pay the taxes.

If the British system changes the tax laws then we will comply. If the taxes go up we will pay more, if they go down we will pay less. That is a political decision for the democracy that is the United Kingdom

There’s a contrast here with the case of Starbucks, volunteering a little extra tax in a failed attempt to head …

Posted in Op-eds | 40 Comments

LibLink: Vince Cable – We’ll hunt down the tax avoiders

Over on The Guardian website, Vince Cable writes:

Tax avoidance, sham directors, money laundering: the recent Guardian investigation made sobering reading. In the UK we are proud that it is easier and cheaper to set up a company here than just about anywhere in the world. This flexibility is hugely valued by the start-ups and small companies which create a significant proportion of our wealth and jobs, and which are vital to recovery from the latest recession. But this flexibility provides a challenge: how do we stop our system from being abused by people who want to use it to dodge tax or to launder the proceeds of crime?…

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Avoid the Tax Avoiders!

On 15th October last, Liberal Democrat Voice published my splutteringly crimson outburst about multinational corporation tax avoiders Opinion: Calling All Bloggers – Don’t make me a tax avoidance accomplice.

Back then, I pleaded that an ongoing media debate would hopefully, at last, provide the oxygen needed to bring about some serious action in respect of corporate tax collecting: “…the media at least seems to be smelling blood. I hope they see this through to some sort of conclusion.”

And didn’t they do well?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 43 Comments

Next week in the Lords… 10-14 December

Firstly, my apologies for missing a few weeks, mostly due to a rather hectic diary. So, where were we?…

It has to be said that next week is a relatively quiet week for the Liberal Democrats, with no oral questions scheduled, although Monday does see some Liberal Democrat ministerial action, with Jim Wallace taking the Second Reading of the Partnerships (Prosecution) (Scotland) Bill, which is intended to make provision for the prosecution in Scotland of partnerships, partners and others following dissolution or changes in membership. More important, probably, …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Vince Cable criticises Starbucks over ‘tax dodging’

In the Guardian today, Vince Cable  says that he understands why people are boycotting Starbucks.

The business secretary, when asked by the Guardian if he would consider boycotting their products, said:

I don’t shop at Starbucks so this doesn’t apply to me, but I can fully understand why people would vote with their feet as a result of their tax dodging.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Alexander: We’ll get under the skin of tax avoiders

Danny Alexander has announced £154 million of extra funding for HMRC to “get under the skin” of multinationals who are not paying their fair share of tax.

Some media sites are reporting that he may boycott Starbucks.

There is one slight snag with that claim.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 12 Comments

LibLink: Simon Hughes – This water tax trickery in the corporate sector is unacceptable

Simon HughesOver in the Observer, Simon Hughes is making his views on tax avoidance perfectly clear.

Every pound lost to tax avoidance, tax planning, tax efficiency, or whatever other euphemism is used, by people who simply don’t want to make their contribution is a pound that cannot be spent on vital services. At a time when we are asking individuals and households to make great financial sacrifices, behaviour of this kind from the corporate sector is simply unacceptable.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Calling All Bloggers – Don’t make me a tax avoidance accomplice

According to Vince Cable “No one keeps their cash in tax havens for the quality of investment advice; these are sunny places for shady people.” True to form, Vince hit the nail squarely on its head with a whammy of a quote, and how we all clapped enthusiastically. But who actually piles the cash into these rogues’ coffers in the first place? It could be you.

Many of our enthusiastic clappers routinely rock up outside Boots, on a sunny Saturday, aggressively jabbing angry posters-on-sticks skywards, in tandem with chants of

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Three intriguing opinion poll results that made me go, “Hmm, really?”

Looking through some of YouGov’s recent poll results (as you do on a summer’s evening during the Olympics), a trio of responses struck me as, well, slightly bizarre. See what you think…

Lib Dem voters LEAST LIKELY to think Britain is best at cricket, MOST LIKELY to think we’re best at cycling

This may simply be a reflection that ‘Britain’ does not play cricket. Or perhaps just a subjective viewpoint: after all, England is currently ranked the best test cricket team in the world (though fourth in one-day internationals); while …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments

Sticking up for David Gauke and his tax-avoidance comments

David Gauke, the exchequer secretary to the treasury, is a Conservative minister I’m quite happy to stick up for. He’s in the headlines this morning for an interview he gave to the Telegraph in which he states it is “morally wrong” to pay cash-in-hand to get a nod-and-a-wink no-tax discount:

“Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax. I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy.”

His comments have provoked an unfair backlash.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 41 Comments

Tory donor pays £2m to taxman after judge rules against Guernsey trust

The Mail on Sunday reports:

One of the Tory party’s biggest donors has been ordered to pay back millions of pounds in tax after a judge ruled against an offshore scheme he had used to slash his bills.

The judge said a Guernsey-based trust set up by hedge fund boss George Robinson, one of the City’s highest-paid financiers, was ‘cosmetic’ and told him and three colleagues to pay the taxman £13 million.

Mr Robinson, who is facing a personal bill of more than £2 million, used an arrangement favoured by top footballers and City banks such as Goldman Sachs after being advised it could

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Danny Alexander: pay tax as I say not as I do?

Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander wrote a powerful article — Rich tax dodgers are as bad as dole cheats — for this week’s Sun newspaper. His condemnation of those, such as Jimmy Carr, who legally avoid paying their taxes couldn’t have been stronger:

… to most people it’s outrageous that a few of the very richest and their expensive financial advisers are devising ever more obscure and underhand ways of not paying their tax. When it comes to paying their fair share, some of the people

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 32 Comments

Liblink: Danny Alexander to tax dodgers – we are coming to get you!

Following all the publicity about Jimmy Carr’s tax arrangements for his multi million pound fortune which means that he pays just a fraction of the amount the rest of us have to shell out, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has written for the Sun newspaper about Government measures to clamp down on those who avoid tax.

Frankly, I think people who dodge the tax system are the moral equivalent of benefit cheats.

Both sets of people think they can bend the rules everyone else lives by for their own benefit.

The Coalition are already cutting income tax for

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Is the government’s crackdown on tax avoidance working?

Interesting news via The Times over the weekend :

Britain’s only listed accountancy firm is to close its specialist tax division in a move that will be regarded as another victory for Revenue & Customs against tax avoidance by the rich.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

“Budget 2012: new tycoon tax in victory for Nick Clegg”

“Budget 2012: new tycoon tax in victory for Nick Clegg” – so reports the Daily Telegraph:

In a significant victory for the Liberal Democrats, the Chancellor effectively introduced a 25 per cent minimum rate of tax in the Budget.

Under the changes, he will limit how much people offset their tax bills by investing in businesses or donating to charity.

Anyone seeking to claim more than £50,000 of tax relief in any one year will have a cap set at 25 per cent of their income from 2013.

Accountants said this means the wealthiest will have to pay at least 25 per cent of their income in tax. Although the highest rate of income tax is 50 per cent, reducing to 45 per cent next year, some wealthy people reduce their bills to almost nothing using different reliefs available from HM Revenue and Customs.

The introduction of this major change to the tax system is one of the main reasons why, as I wrote yesterday, if you are on more than £150,000, you will pay an extra £1,300 a year in tax on average as a result of this Budget.

As for what Labour would do on the 50p rate they seem to be flip and flopping with each new interview – sometimes saying they would reintroduce it if they had the chance tomorrow/next week, and sometimes not.

For more on the Budget see a couple of the media interviews I did yesterday – first on the News Channel and then on Radio 4:

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Nick Clegg’s priorities for 2012

The Voice’s Mark Pack has been writing about the Party’s challenges in 2012 – as if on cue, leader Nick Clegg set out his priorities for Lib Dems in Government in a Radio 4 Today interview which you can hear in full here.

As reported in The Guardian, these priorities include tackling tax avoidance by both corporations and wealthy individuals, clamping down on excessive and undeserved top pay, and re-engaging with governments and business in Europe following the Prime Minister’s unhelpful showing in Brussels at the end of last year.

Pressed on how that re-engagement would materialise, Nick …

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The Independent View: Rhetoric is not enough on tax dodging

The VAT rise will mean tighter purse strings for everyone, with the poorest being hardest hit. But there is an alternative which some sections of the media and certain politicians seem reluctant to talk about, let alone act on.

The £120bn tax gap is more than the NHS budget and over three times the budget for education. It dwarfs the £13bn brought in by the VAT increase. At a time when George Osborne is telling the British public that we’re all in this together, 38 Degrees members are calling on him to do more to make sure everyone plays by the …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 29 Comments

Government steps up action on tax avoidance

Though the timing is rather politically convenient, bringing welcome news for Liberal Democrats just ahead of the tuition fees vote, the substance of today’s news on tax avoidance is very welcome.

Two steps are being taken immediately with another three to follow and, crucially, a study into introducing a General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) has also been commissioned.

This review will be carried out by Graham Aaronson QC and consider whether “it could deter and counter tax avoidance, whilst providing certainty, retaining a tax regime that is attractive to businesses, and minimising costs for businesses and HMRC”.

The two immediate steps are:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Danny Alexander: £900m to fight tax avoidance and evasion

Sunday lunchtime saw Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander address Liberal Democrat conference. The packed nature of the hall, the fullest it had been so far save for the rally on Saturday night, reflects both the importance of Danny’s role and the interest from many members in hearing direct from him.

What’s really happening with the cuts? How much is fairness figuring? And can Danny present the message successfully? Not being David Laws is a burden that has hung over his early days in office and this speech was his opportunity to establish himself in party eyes as his own …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 31 Comments

Opinion: A Diminished Clarke – a picture of electoral calculation and desperation

What Ken Clarke has been sent out to do (FT.com – requires registration) – and has been willing to do – diminishes him. It can hardly diminish his party.

Ken Clarke is a fervent European but he has been willing to return to the frontline of Tory politics. No doubt he believes he has done a deal…and he has calculated that he can hold back the forces of Euro-scepticism in the Tory party. The gag he is now prepared to wear, on European matters, is a measure of how unsound his judgement has become.

He has a point when he complains …

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